15 Jun

Well, this week I have attended one of my favourite events of the year – the Bridging the Gap Graduation Ceremony at Manchester Metropolitan University..

Bridging the Gap is a project where students are based for a full year at the university and take part in 3 full time work placements. I set this project up about 7 years ago and it is just such an honour to attend the annual celebration and see what a huge impact it has on the lives of the young people taking part in the project.

This year, our Future Finders students utilised these placements and they have all had incredible experiences at the university. They looked extremely smart in their caps and gowns and all delivered heartfelt, funny and emotional speeches to an audience of university staff, school staff, friends and family members..

I, along with parents and fellow staff,was extremely proud! The event was hosted by the Vice Chancellor of the university, who said it was his favourite event of the year!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff at MMU for continuing to support the scheme..

Last year three students from New Bridge were on this project and a year on, all three of them have moved into paid employment. This is down to the skills, independence and confidence that they gained through Bridging the Gap! I look forward to attending many more graduation ceremonies in years to come.

More good news from our Future Finders this week as Zoheb has gained a job in a local retail store! Well done Zoheb! Abu and Humayun are also currently on a work trial at another major retail outlet in Oldham and I hear that they are doing brilliantly, so well done to you all and fingers crossed for more job offers in the near future!

Now for our popular ‘Day in the Life of….’ feature! This week I hand you over to Luka..

A day in the life of Luka
RSPCA Shop, Royton

To get to the shop I travel on the 409 bus that goes to Rochdale and get off in Royton, so I always make sure I have my bus pass and dinner with me when I leave Medtia. When I arrive at the shop, I say good morning to the other volunteers and to Dee the manager, hang my coat up and then ask Dee what jobs she would like me to do.

The first job is to check, rotate and replenish the books and DVDs. Dee explains to me what numbers we are using. This week the number is 23.

First I check through the books and DVDs and remove any that have a number lower than 23 and place them into the recycling bag..

Next I check to see if there are any books or DVDs without labels on them. I pull them forward on the shelf so I know that I need to put a label on..

Then I get some blank labels and carefully write the number 23 on them, then place the labels onto the spines of the books..

If there are any empty spaces for new books, I select the books, put labels on them and then place them onto the shelves, making sure I put the heavy, large books onto the bottom shelves.

This job takes up most of the morning, so after I have had my dinner my next job is to check and organise the clothing on the shop floor.

First I check the rails to see if there are any empty hangers because the clothes have fallen on the floor. If there are, I check the size on the hanger, for example 14, then I check the loose items of clothing to see if the size matches. If they do match, I put the item of clothing onto the hanger then hang the item in the right place on the rails..

Next I have to check that the clothes are in the right order on the rails. The smallest clothes sizes start at the front of the rails and the bigger sized clothing goes at the back. Some of the clothing can be quite heavy like the coats and some of the clothes can be delicate like the vests so I have to be careful not to damage the clothes when I’m moving them around..

When it is time to leave, I let Dee know which rails I have checked and sorted through so she knows what jobs are left for the other volunteers to do. I say thank you and goodbye and catch the 409 bus back to Oldham, then I walk back to Medtia. This is where I sit with my job coach to talk through my targets and complete my diary.

Now for some more work experience updates. Matthew, Fahad and Imnann have been really enjoying their placement..

Every Wednesday at 1pm we get picked up to go to work! We work at Dr Kershaws charity shop and it is our responsibility to sort out all the donated clothes (and there are a lot!) We have to check the clothes and make sure that they are not damaged – if they are, then we put them in a separate pile so that we don’t sell them.

We then have to check what items they are as the prices are different for each item, and we have to put them on the correct hanger and put a price tag on using a price gun, which is fun!

We also have to look out for designer clothes as they need to be sold for a higher price.

It is nice to go out to work for a change and learn some new skills!

Four of our Digit4ll students have been invited to attend the HSBC International Festival of Business at the Liverpool Convention Centre on Tuesday as a result of their exceptional work for Young Enterprise this year. Luke, Mitchell, Lewis and Josh will be taking part in three skills workshops billed as ‘Voyage of Discovery’ and they may even catch a glimpse of a very special VIP guest – we are all very excited and can’t wait to bring you all their news on Tuesday!

That is it for this week. I hope you all enjoy your weekend! I shall be spending Sunday with my choir performing in Albert Square for Manchester Day! Fingers crossed for some good weather.

Daniel
Director of Employment & Co Head of Site at Medtia Square

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